04/08/2014 12:12 EDT

13 Stupid Things We Need To Stop Saying About Menstruation

Huffington Post Canada

It's the word that no woman likes to say out loud, but we're broadcasting it loud and clear: It's called your period. That said, the term is still considered 'icky', and society (and a lot of us, for that matter) have come up with strange slang to describe the blood that flows out of the uterus every month.

And while we've also heard ridiculous myths about women on their periods — don't go swimming in the ocean, tampons will make you lose your virginity and don't touch ice, just to name a few — creating fake people (hello, Aunt Flo) or exaggerating phrases to describes periods isn't doing anyone any favours, either.

According to writer Meg Malone of, while some of these code names for that special time of the month can be creative, they also make a natural experience just seem gross.

That's not to say that plenty of women don't have valid questions about what happens to their bodies each month. Wondering about the regularity of your period, following discharge patterns and making sure you have proper hygiene are all important when it comes to vaginal health.

But in the meantime, we're just wondering, why can't we just call periods, periods?

Here are 13 things we commonly hear when describing periods — and what they actually sound like:

  • What it sounds like: A really bad horror film about a group of teens who drive their car out into the woods and get haunted by a ghost.
    But what you're actually referencing: There are cramps, and yes, blood to deal with, but getting your period isn't a curse of any sort — it's part of being a woman of a certain age. Periods involve our ovaries releasing eggs, while hormonal changes prepare our uteruses for pregnancy. See ... not so scary.
  • What it sounds like: A really cool and urban aunt who likes to listen to hip hop and buy vinyl records
    But what you're actually referencing: Aunt Flo only visits once a month (a 28-day cycle to be exact). She is kind of uncomfortable, annoying and her conversations never stops flowing...
  • What it sounds like: Your really really really old aunt who has a kind soul.
    But what you're actually referencing: Similar to her sister Aunt Flo, Aunt Rose seems to be the nicer of the two: Because we all know things like rose petals and rose bushes resemble menstruation.
  • What it sounds like: Like you have a giant wound and you can't stop bleeding. Ever.
    But what you're actually referencing: You're being pretty literal here, but yes, a period means you're bleeding from your vagina.
  • What it sounds like: A really trendy urban cafe.
    But what you're actually referencing: The dot/dots that appear on your liner, pad and sometimes on your bed sheets and underwear. Also, dot = period.
  • What it sounds like: Not just any friend, but a really annoying friend you don't like.
    But what you're actually referencing: Sometimes we try to make the best of what life throws at us by staying positive and remembering our periods can be our friends.
  • What it sounds like: When the plumbing went wrong ... for a week.
    But what you're actually referencing: Again, the leak refers the constant flow of blood coming out of your body. We also assume people are referring to leaks they get on their pants or bedsheets. The worst.
  • What it sounds like: Time of the month sounds like a hush-hush thing that happens to your body that only you and members of a secret club understand.
    But what you're actually referencing: TOTM refers to time of the month when your period is taking place — just so we're all on the same page.
  • What it sounds like: A newsletter or a magazine that comes out once a month
    But what you're actually referencing: To add emphasis that everything is cool with your flow and your period only happens once a month.
  • What it sounds like: Teenage slang
    But what you're actually referencing: PMS actually stands for premenstrual syndrome, and isn't a synonym for your period at all.
  • What it sounds like: A dirty old cloth you use to wash your dishes and floor
    But what you're actually referencing: The rag is closely related to the pad or tampon we wear during periods... and how uncomfortable it is. It's also an unfortunate visual.
  • What it sounds like: This river in China!
    But what you're actually referencing: We're not sure with the obsession of words like "river," "water" or "flow" when it comes to describing your period. Our best guess? The assumption that when a woman is on her period, she is forever bleeding.
  • What it sounds like: It sounds like what it is, the bleeding elevator from the 'The Shining.'
    But what you're actually referencing: Periods are scary and women bleed and if you see/talk about this blood, something terrible will happen. Get a grip, people — the only thing frightening about periods is using phrases like "the shining" to describe it.